Auditing your website is part of a normal, healthy routine. You take in your car for check-ups and tune-ups, you go to the doctor’s office for physicals and exams, so why wouldn’t you take care of your website in the same way?
A technical SEO audit examines every aspect of a website to identify any underlying issues that could be hurting the site from both a search and user perspective. It can also identify new previously unexplored opportunities that could help your website thrive.
See the full walkthrough below of our very own technical SEO audit and then snag your free copy to use for yourself!
Website Index Health
Is your website being properly indexed by search engines? You can easily find this out by checking your Google Search Console data by going to Google Index > Index Status. This will give you the option to view a “basic” or ”advanced” version where you can see how many total pages are indexed, how many pages are blocked by a robotx.txt file, and how many pages have been removed.
An important, but often overlooked, technical site check step is to perform a site search. Simply type in “site:nameofsite.com” to get started. This step should tell you a few things: how many pages are returned? Is the homepage showing up as the first result? If the number of pages showing up is vastly different than the number of pages on your website or if your homepage is not showing up first, there could be issues present that need to be addressed.
Organic Search Results
Another crucial index element to check is your organic search results. Search for both direct brand and brand related variations to be sure you are dominating your own SERP. This will also give you potential content ideas (Google Suggest and Google Related Searches are easily available) and a look into whom else is ranking highly for your brand terms.
Mobile search results
Don’t forget to take these same steps on a mobile device! In addition to scoping out the SERP, check to see if your site is listed as “mobile friendly” and click through to a few landing pages to be sure the proper page is being displayed.
You can check how mobile friendly your website is with the Google Mobile-Friendly Tool.
Generally speaking, a robots.txt file is a list of instructions for search engines on how to crawl and index pages on a website. There are several reasons for search engines to exclude certain content from their index, though it is important to know how to use and manage these files properly to avoid any unwanted issues.
You can check your site for pages being blocked by a robots.txt file in Google Search Console by going to Crawl > Robots.txt tester.
Does your website have a glitch that is causing any website errors? You can easily identify any 400 or 500 level page errors by using either the Bing or Google search tools or tools like Screaming Frog. It is important to not only identify and rectify these website errors but also to identify and fix what could be causing them in the first place to prevent future issues.
On-page SEO elements include anything on a given webpage that can influence search engine rank factors. This could include any written content, HTML tags, redirects, and more.
Canonical tags can be a complex topic. The important thing to know is that it is a best practice to use them across your site to help search engines recognize the main source of content or page of authority.
Learn more about canonicalization with these resources:
Does your site have a dynamic, XML sitemap? And has that sitemap been submit to Google & Bing webmaster tools?
For Google, you can find this in the Search Console by looking under Crawl > Sitemaps.
This will show you the link to the sitemap, how many webpages and images have been submitted, how many webpages and images have been indexed, and even allow you to add or test a new sitemap.
Site speed is becoming more and more important to not only users but also for search engines. While site speed has been a rank factor for quite a few years now, Google will soon segment site speed into desktop and mobile speeds to correspond with the desktop and mobile rankings.
Do your pages contain proper header hierarchy? From a search engine perspective, headers prioritize the content on a webpage in order of importance. And, for users, they make the content more manageable and easy to read. Check the header hierarchy throughout the site and also be sure that what is labeled as a header makes sense to both users and search engines. And, ideally, headers should contain relevant keywords, if possible.
Image Alt Text
Image alt text is a HTML attribute that describes an image for both search engines and visually impaired users. Image alt text should be descriptive and utilize keywords where applicable but should not be a place to stuff as many keywords as possible. Be sure to check your image file names too, as those should be relevant and descriptive as well.
See also: How to write great image alt text
Are your title tags present and optimized? These tags are not only shows at the top of the tab for each page of your website but are also the first thing a searcher will see when a page on your site is displayed on a search engine. These should be descriptive and enticing to users.
The meta description is a short snippet displayed below the title tag of a site that provides a brief description of the page in question. Are yours present and properly optimized?
For anyone unfamiliar, schema markup is a universal code that you can add to your website to give search engines, and therefore users, more information about your website. These tags are placed in the HTML of your website in various places and can drastically change the way your search engine results listing is displayed.
Here are a few helpful resources for more information:
Note: Some webmaster’s and marketers prefer to use the Google Data Highlighter Tool in lieu of schema markups. While this is an easy way to help Google identify structured data on your website without having to go through a developer to implement specific code, the data that is “highlighted” in Search Console is only seen by Google. It is therefore our recommendation to use schema.org markups as your main source of provided structured data to search engines and only use the data highlighter tools as a secondary source.
How is your URL structure looking? Ideally, URLs should be as clean, intuitive, and as short possible. If your website URLs contain excessive numbers in lieu of words or the hierarchy seems illogical, it might be time to reevaluate your site structure.
Content is a broad term that refers a wide array of website elements that are seen by users. This could include anything from written content, video content, images and infographics, and more. Content makes up the meat of your website and is what convinces users to trust in and use your particular product or service.
Amount of Content
Though the amount of content necessary will vary greatly depending on your individual website, it is important to be sure your content is sufficient. Do you answer any and all questions that one might have about your product or service? Would someone have to leave your site to go find reviews, pricing info, etc.? Do you have a page full of text when a video tutorial would be a better substitute? Analyze your content on a page by page basis and continually evaluate whether you have too much content, too little content, and how it can be improved.
Does your site have a well thought out keyword strategy that is reflected throughout your content? Do you have a solid strategy when it comes to targeting a keyword and then creating webpages and content related to that keyword? Are these pages optimized in a natural way around your keywords?
If you need some help with developing a keyword strategy, check out some of these resources:
Type of Content
What type of content exists on your site? It is primarily text, or do you use a mix of written content, video content, and images? Consider your industry and your goals and what content mix is right for you.
Additionally, it is important that all of your website elements are functioning properly. Check videos, images, and other elements to ensure a quality user experience.
Does your website contain content that helps users follow a natural path down a conversion funnel? If your main content is too sales focused or too generic you could be missing out on a large range of potential customers. Evaluate your sales funnel and whether you not you have substantial, helpful content to address each step. This process could identify gaps in content and provide a strategy for your content plan moving forward.
If you do not already have your own internal process, check out the seo website audit we use. The file is located in Google drive and you are free to make a copy of the form and try it out for your own website.
Want to know more about SEO? Contact Fuel today for a free website evaluation or just to drop by and say “hello”!